The most Instagrammable places in LA

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Urban Light at LACMA.

From world-famous icons to local favorites

People sure love taking photos of Los Angeles. A wonderland of diverse architecture and stunning natural landscapes, LA consistently ranks among the most Instagrammed cities in the world.

Below, we’ve curated a list of our favorite places to put images on Instagram. It includes architectural gems like the Walt Disney Concert Hall, outstanding vista points like the Hollywood Bowl Overlook and world-famous landmarks like the Santa Monica Pier.

You might have to elbow through tourists or get sweaty hiking a steep trail to get the shot, but the geotag will make your followers jealous.

Venice Canals

Today’s Venice canals aren’t the original bodies of water built by enterprising developer Abbot Kinney. But the channels once flowed through Kinney’s planned European-style community, and they exist today as scenic waterways dotted with colorful boats and crossed by arched bridges.
Address: 200 Linnie Canal, Venice, CA 90291


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Hollywood Bowl Overlook

There are seven scenic overlooks on Mulholland Drive. This one is tucked up behind the Stone Canyon Reservoir, and it offers sweeping views of the Downtown skyline and Hollywood, and even a glimpse of that signature LA fixture: the freeway. The Hollywood Bowl Overlook can be reached by car, but has a very small parking lot. It’s open from sunrise to sunset.
Address: 7036 Mulholland Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068

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Urban Light and LACMA

If you didn’t ’gram from Urban Light, did you even spend time in Los Angeles? A perennial Instagram favorite since it opened in 2008, the installation of 202 historic street lamps is located outside of the museum’s entrance on Wilshire Boulevard, and it’s almost impossible to take a bad photo of it. The museum has plenty of other photogenic spots, too, from Levitated Mass to the zig-zag roofline of the Renzo Piano-designed Lynda and Stewart Resnick Pavilion to the palm trees to the soon-to-be-demolished modernist buildings designed by William Pereira.
Address: 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

No longer your muse.

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Walt Disney Concert Hall

The shiny Frank Gehry-designed venue pops up in many a Downtown photo. The curvaceous exterior is endlessly photogenic but the rooftop garden and its mosaic water fountain make for a nice backdrop too.
Address: 111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

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Griffith Observatory

One of LA’s most iconic buildings, the Griffith Observatory also offers some of the best views of the city from its balconies and observation decks, with sight lines all the way to Palos Verdes on a clear day. Parking at the nearby lot is $4 per hour, but you can also park at the bottom of the hill and take the free shuttle—or take the Observatory DASH bus.
Address: 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

The Gods are Watching #griffithobservatory #muralart #lookingatthestars

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• • • • • #Hollywood #griffithobservatory #california

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Abalone Cove

For some of the best ocean views in Southern California, head to Abalone Cove, at the southern end of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. From there, you’ll see miles of sparkling blue ocean, with the hulking outline of Catalina Island in the distance.
Address: 5970 Palos Verdes Drive South, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

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Watts Towers

Built by hand by Simon Rodia over the course of 33 years (1921 to 1954), the unconventional building materials of the Watts Towers—pieces of porcelain, mirrors, seashells—make for exciting pictures up close; their heights and unique shapes look great from across the street.
Address: 1765 E 107th St, Los Angeles, CA 90002

Hollywood Walk of Fame

There are a lot of reasons to dislike visiting the tourist mecca that is the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but it’s undeniably fun to see the pink star of an actor or musician who has earned your admiration. And if you aren’t in it for the celebrities, there’s the glittery terrazzo.
Address: Hollywood and Vine, Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Santa Monica Pier

Another tourist hot-spot that’s unmistakably fun (and photogenic), the wood pier is undeniably one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks in all of LA. Whether you visit to snap photos of the Ferris wheel, kitschy restaurants, or the shoreline—definitely stick around for the pink and orange sunsets.
Address: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

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Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

The best Instagram photographers in Los Angeles don’t always disclose their shooting locations, but they do regularly take advantage of this vista point from a bluff above Culver City. The one-mile hike to the top is steep, but you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the basin and Downtown skyline. At night, a sea of twinkling lights will spread out before you.
Address: 6300 Hetzler Road, Culver City, Ca 90232

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What $565K buys around LA

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From the Valley to San Pedro

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, where we explore what you can rent or buy for a certain dollar amount in various LA ’hoods. We’ve found five homes within $10,000 of today’s price: $565,000.

Living room
Dining room
Office and balcony
 Via Mike Syre, Douglas Elliman

This two-bedroom condo sits on the northern side of the Hollywood Hills, near Universal City. Inside the unit are hardwood floors, a roomy kitchen, a living room fireplace, and screen doors that open to balconies. The condo has two bathrooms with 1,129 square feet of living space. Shared amenities include a pool, spa, and gardens. Asking price is $565,000, with HOA dues of $480 per month.

Front yard
Living room
Sun room
BackyardVia Jessica Khazraei, Realty One Group

Built in 1921, this San Pedro home is the recipient of a recent update and features new kitchen appliances and a fresh paint job. It holds three bedrooms and two bathrooms across 1,335 square feet of living space. A sun room leads to a back patio with two detached garages. Sitting on a 4,999-square-foot lot, the house is asking $569,000.

Front of complex
Dining room
Living room
BalconyVia Debbie Martin, Redfin

This Redondo Beach condo fits two bedrooms and two bathrooms into 975 square feet of floor space. In addition, the unit has an open living and dining area, along with a galley kitchen with a breakfast bar. Building amenities include a pool, spa, fitness center, and tennis courts. Asking price is $568,000, with HOA dues of $416 per month.

Front of house
Living room
BackyardVia Brian Reyes, Pinnacle Estate Properties

Sitting on a big 7,548-square-foot lot in Granada Hills, this home has three bedrooms and two bathrooms spread across 1,252 square feet of living space. It’s fronted by a large driveway and manicured front yard, along with an attached two-car garage. In back is a grassy backyard with multiple patios and gardens. Asking price is $569,900.

Front of house
Living room
Back patioVia Jeff Anderson, Kelly Costello, Keller Williams

This airy Long Beach residence was built in 1933 and retains vintage details like a decorative fireplace, built-in shelving, and casement windows. The 1,010-square-foot home contains two bedrooms and a tiled bathroom, along with an updated kitchen and a laundry room. Behind the house is an enclosed patio with a fountain and plenty of room for outdoor seating. Asking price is $560,000.


Sweet Tudor-inspired home seeks $995K in Atwater Village

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Photos by Erik Grammer&nbsp;

The two-bedroom house features coved ceilings and original hardwood floors

This two-bedroom house with a touch of Tudor sits just south of Los Feliz Boulevard in Atwater Village.

The roughly 1,300-square-foot dwelling dates to 1924, and still has its original hardwood floors and coved ceilings. The dining area and kitchen share one big open and bright room. The kitchen’s butcher block counters are a lovely touch.

The master bedroom has a full en-suite bathroom; the house has an additional bathroom off the dining area.

Behind the house, there’s a grassy yard and a studio space with a small private patio. In the backyard, there are also stairs to the house’s second story—a one-bedroom, one-bathroom space with its own entrance.

The property is located is walking distance to Los Feliz Boulevard’s shops and eateries. It’s listed for $995,000.

Should Los Angeles ban ADUs in hillside neighborhoods like Highland Park?

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Roughly 28 percent of LA’s single-family homes are in hillside areas.

Some city officials say it’s too dangerous

Thanks to a new California law, more homeowners in Los Angeles are building accessory dwelling units—otherwise known as granny flats, in-law units, or back houses.

But it may be hard to find one with a hilltop view.

City officials are considering new rules that would prevent property owners from building ADUs in hillside areas.

Fire danger and the impacts of construction on “fragile roads and sensitive hillsides” makes ADUs inappropriate in these areas, says Emma Howard, senior planning deputy for Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu.

She told the city’s Planning Commission on Thursday that the councilmember is in “strong support” of a blanket ban on constructing ADUs in any hillside community.

A hillside ban is just one element of draft ADU regulations that city officials are weighing—and some commissioners don’t support it.

“If Councilmember Ryu is going to come here and say, ‘I don’t want to have that; it’s not safe,’ I’ve got to disagree,” said Commissioner Renee Dake Wilson.

She says ADUs would have limited effects on traffic or safety in hilly areas with wide streets and access to public transit.

Dake Wilson also pointed out that the city’s own ADU pilot project—a test unit being constructed in Highland Park—would likely be banned under the proposed rules. But Highland Park wouldn’t be the only area homeowners would have trouble building.

The ban would affect roughly 28 percent of all single-family homes in the city, according to planners, preventing a huge swath of residents from constructing an additional unit on their property.

State leaders have touted ADUs as a simple solution to California’s housing shortage.

According to the planning department, more than 3,000 ADUs have been permitted in the city of Los Angeles between January 2017, when the new state law took effect, and March 2018—and plenty more are on the way.

Planner Matt Glesne told the commission Thursday that the department now receives between 300 and 350 ADU permit applications per month.

The new law simplifies the process by which ADUs are approved and prevents cities from banning them outright. But local leaders can still place some restrictions on their construction, as LA is now looking to do.

A hillside ban might not matter too much. Glesne told the commission that, so far, planners have received only a small number of permit applications for new ADUs in hillside areas.

“We looked at the impact of this based on the last year and a half and recognize this is only going to affect a small percentage of the permits that we’ve seen,” he said.

But commission President David Ambroz was also critical of the hillside ban, arguing that it put an unfair burden on flatter, and often less affluent, communities to support most of the new housing ADUs will provide.

“What’s being proposed here is not in my backyard, and my backyard has a nice view and yours doesn’t,” said Ambroz Thursday. “That’s not equitable.”

The commission asked planners to investigate which particular hillside areas are most prone to fire and other dangers, and which would be safer for new development. The planning department will report back later this year.

, and

38 remarkable places to encounter public art in Los Angeles

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From Santa Monica to the Valley

Summer’s longer days mean more time to poke around the city and explore new neighborhoods. With that in mind, here’s our map of notable public art in LA, highlighting some of the coolest murals, sculptures, and installations in the city.

We’ve included newer pieces—a mural on Skid Row created by residents of the neighborhood—as well as time-tested favorites like “Urban Light” at LACMA. Good public art doesn’t just live in Central LA, as a row of murals on a Pacoima street or a giant fork stuck in a Pasadena road show.

An urban-scale rainbow, an interactive hologram, and a space-age sculpture on the brink of restoration—all those and more are featured on this 38-point guide to finding public art wherever you go in Los Angeles.

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Updated midcentury modern in woodsy La Cañada asks $1.3M

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The house was one of many in the area constructed by Webster Wiley in the 1950s and ’60s.

Built in the 1960s, the house was recently given a tasteful makeover

This modern-style home in La Cañada Flintridge is one of many constructed in the area by prolific builder Webster Wiley.

Built in 1963, it sits on a 9,867-square-foot lot with excellent views of the surrounding Verdugos. It last sold in 2015 (for $1 million) and has been extensively updated since then.

Inside are hardwood floors, walls of glass, pitched ceilings, and clerestory windows. The living room includes a large stone fireplace and the kitchen has been equipped with new cabinetry, shelving, countertops, and appliances. The house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms spread across 1,890 square feet of living space. At the center of the home is a walled courtyard space with room for outdoor dining.

Behind the house is a concrete patio and a grassy backyard, enclosed by hedges and fencing. There’s even a club house, accessed by a short, kid-friendly ladder. in front, the house and attached two-car garage are shaded by tall trees.

Asking price is $1.299 million.

Dining room
Living room
Living room alcove
Backyard with club house

Map: LA’s strange and wonderful lost amusement parks

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A woman poses for a portrait at the Los Angeles Alligator Farm in Lincoln Heights in 1949.

Ride an alligator or watch a Civil War sea battle reenactment while drinking free beer and eating cotton candy

Los Angeles is known for its enormous but sterile corporate amusement parks. Disneyland, Universal Studios, and even Knott’s Berry Farm are fun enough, but also uptightly engineered to minimize their owners’ exposure to lawsuits and maximize their visitors’ exposure to a whirling menagerie of brands and advertising and intellectual property.

Every once in a while, they’ll take a few years to replace old favorites with new lands to feature new brands (Harry Potter or Cars or Star Wars). But once upon a time, from the early days of the city until as late as the 1970s and ’80s, Los Angeles was home to dozens of more freewheeling amusement parks.

New attractions were added every season, and you could ride an alligator, see a macaw on rollerskates, descend into Dante’s hell, watch a Civil War sea battle reenactment, drink free beer, and even get medical care for your baby, in between riding the rollercoasters and eating cotton candy.

In the early 20th century, several amusement parks sprang up (and eventually burned down) on piers along what were then the resort towns of Venice and Ocean Park—where, unlike Los Angeles, drinking and dancing were allowed on Sundays—but the theme parks of the old days were scattered as far as Thousand Oaks, the San Bernardino Mountains, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and there was even a park just south of Downtown LA. Here are the lost locations of 18 of LA’s most spectacular lost amusement parks.


1930s Spanish-style with vintage tile bathrooms asks $895K in Glendale

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The house was built in 1936.

Hardwood floors and a tile fireplace

This classic Spanish-style home in Glendale was built in 1936 and plenty of original details appear to be intact, including hardwood floors, cabinetry, and a handsome tile fireplace in the living room.

The 1,671-square-foot home has three bedrooms, and both bathrooms are equipped with vintage tile and cabinetry. Arched wall niches in the master bathroom match the entryways and built-in shelving throughout the home.

Per the listing, a solar system has been installed and the kitchen has been equipped with new countertops and appliances. The rest of the house has a more old-fashioned feel, down to the sconces and lighting fixtures.

The house sits on a 7,283-square-foot lot at the western edge of the city, near the Burbank border. Out back is a detached two-car garage and a large brick patio surrounded by gardens, trees, and a small fountain.

Asking price is $895,000.

Living room with fireplace
Tile bathroom
Bedroom with en-suite bathroom
 Brick patio

LA’s most endangered buildings

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LACMA’s original design.

These structures may not be around much longer

Once known as a place where developers and city officials zealously tore down and replaced historic buildings and structures that had gone even momentarily out of style, Los Angeles has evolved into a city where eclectic building types and the architecture of multiple eras blends together.

Led by groups like the Los Angeles Conservancy, the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles, and Esotouric, LA has a strong community dedicated to historic preservation.

Advocates have recently scored victories, landmarking structures like Sunset Boulevard’s Hollywood Reporter building and CBS Television City in Fairfax. But not every effort to save the buildings that have shaped the city’s evolution is successful.

Cherished and historically significant structures like the Ambassador Hotel, Irving Gill’s Dodge House, and Downtown’s Richfield Building have all been demolished—or mostly demolished, in the case of the Ambassador.

The buildings on this list face an uncertain future—and, in a few cases, almost certain destruction. Each stands as a clear reminder of some aspect of the city’s past, but also as an obstacle to builders of its future. Enjoy them while you can; they may not be around much longer.

LACMA courtyardAlarico | Shutterstock

1. Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Much of California’s largest art museum would be torn down in coming years if plans move forward for an ambitious redesign by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. That includes the earliest structures at the museum site, designed by prolific modernist William Pereira.

Museum leadership has long sought to replace the three Pereira buildings that comprise its original campus, opened in 1965. A later addition by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates would also be razed should plans for the new overhaul move forward.

Pereira’s original LACMA buildings “floated” majestically in pools of water. The architect envisioned that “restful splashing of the fountains” would drown out noise from Wilshire Boulevard and “set the museum apart visually.” But the pools proved problematic, as gas and oil seeped in from the nearby tar pits, and they were quickly filled in. Water was also a central design feature for Pereira’s Metropolitan Water District campus (below).

Metropolitan Water DistrictPhoto by Julius Shulman, courtesy Getty Research Institute

2. Metropolitan Water District

Pereira’s former Metropolitan Water District headquarters is also slated for demolition now that developer Palisaides Capital Partners plans to build an enormous mixed use complex on the site.

The new development would include a trio of towers and other lower-slung structures. The complex would contain a hotel and nearly 800 apartments. Early renderings show much of the simple, modern style of Pereira’s building would be replicated in the new project—but none of the actual structure and surrounding water feature would remain.

Preservationists attempted to landmark the building in 2016. Pereira’s daughter, Monica, supported the designation, saying the project had been one of her father’s favorites. In reference to the water district’s role in keeping LA residents hydrated, Pereira surrounded the building with shimmering ponds and elaborate fountains.

Arguing that the building wasn’t in good enough shape to preserve, the Cultural Heritage Commission narrowly rejected the landmark application.

View looking up at Parker CenterAP

3. Parker Center

The Welton Becket-designed Parker Center, built in 1955 as the new home of the Los Angeles Police Department, was ahead of its time in terms of design and technology (it housed one of the world’s largest crime labs at the time).

But the building’s legacy is one that many residents are reluctant to celebrate. It shares its name with Chief William Parker, whose militaristic style of policing is often cited as a key factor leading to the Watts Rebellion in 1965.

The building is also associated with dark times in the city’s history, like the Rampart Scandal in the late 1990s.

The very land Parker Center sits on is contested. Los Angeles officials seized it from Little Tokyo community members through eminent domain shortly after residents and business owners returned from World War II internment camps.

For these reasons, the City Council refused to landmark the structure last year, electing instead to move forward with plans to replace it with a new office tower for city employees.

Preservationists, though, aren’t done fighting. An effort to save the building and convert it into homeless housing is underway, and supporters of that plan are now collecting petition signatures to place it on a future ballot.

They’ll have to hurry though; demolition work on the building is scheduled to begin later this year.

4. Roosevelt High School

This school in Boyle Heights was a key site of the East LA Blowouts in 1968. For two weeks in March, thousands of students walked out of Roosevelt and four other schools to protest racial discrimination in the classroom and limited educational resources for Mexican-American students.

Despite the school’s connection with this important moment in the city’s history, the Los Angeles Unified School District plans to demolish much of the campus, including the school’s original auditorium and classrooms, built in 1922.

LAUSD maintains that the older buildings are seismically unsafe and lack adequate classroom space. Preservationists say the buildings could be updated in a way that respects their historic significance.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently included all five walkout schools on a list of the nation’s most endangered historic places.

Times Mirror SquareGetty Images

5. Times Mirror Square

Los Angeles Times staffers are saying goodbye to the paper’s longtime headquarters, which Canadian developer Onni Group purchased in 2016. With the Times moving to a new building in El Segundo, Onni plans to thoroughly overhaul the complex, demolishing part of it and erecting two tall residential towers.

The portion of Times Mirror Square that the company wants to tear down includes a 1970s addition by none other than Pereira, who really can’t seem to catch a break these days.

This building is less popular than some of Pereira’s other works. In 2007, it placed second in our “ugliest building in Los Angeles” contest. Still, some architecture lovers argue it’s a misunderstood masterpiece.

Earlier this month, a group of preservationists led by Esotouric co-founder Richard Schave nominated most of the complex—including the Pereira addition—for landmark status. That wouldn’t guarantee the building won’t be razed, but it could delay demolition while city officials seek options for preservation.

Chase Bank/Lytton Savings and LoanPhoto by Hunter Kerhart, courtesy of the Los Angeles Conservancy

6. Lytton Savings

This Sunset Boulevard bank building was actually at the heart of a preservation controversy in the late 1950s, when developer and banker Bart Lytton paved over the bucolic Garden of Allah complex—once home to Hollywood luminaries like Greta Garbo and Orson Welles—to clear space for a strip mall.

That sequence of events is the rumored inspiration for Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi.”

The building constructed at the site was an early example of midcentury bank architecture, with clerestory windows, a floating staircase, and an accordion-like roofline. Designed by architect Kurt Meyer, the building was landmarked in 2016, but is likely to be torn down during development of a multi-building Frank Gehry project set to include apartments and commercial space.

The Los Angeles Conservancy sued the city of LA to stop that from happening, but a court decision last month means developers can move forward with demolition.

7. Covina Bowl

This 1950s bowling alley is one of the best remaining examples of Googie architecture in Southern California. The eye-catching building was designed by Powers, Daly, and DeRosa, a Long Beach-based architecture firm that drew up plans for bowling alleys all across the Southland in the postwar years.

Sadly, Covina Bowl closed last year, and its future is murky. No explicit plans for demolition have been brought forward yet, but preservationists are prepared for the worst. The building was recently listed on California’s Register of Historical Resources, and a group called Friends of Covina Bowl has formed to protect the building should it face the wrecking ball.

Pickle WorksGoogle Maps

8. James K. Hill & Sons Pickle Works

As you might infer from the name, this large brick building in the Arts District was built as a pickle factory. Decades later, after the James K. Hill & Sons company closed up shop, artists moved in and the building became a gallery called the Citizens Warehouse and Art Dock. The space played a key role in making the neighborhood a haven for artists in the 1980s.

Built in 1888, the building is also among the oldest structures in Los Angeles. It was deemed eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 as a rare example of brick industrial architecture from the Victorian era.

The city purchased the building in 2007 as Metro prepared to extend the Gold Line into East LA. Some of the structure was demolished to allow for expansion of the First Street Viaduct.

Even more of the building could come down as Metro prepares to develop a new turnback facility south of Union Station, allowing for more frequent service on the Red and Purple lines. The LA Conservancy is in talks with Metro about how to maintain as much of the building as possible when constructing the project.


How the Los Angeles Times built LA

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The short history of the newspaper—and its opportunistic publishers

The corner of First and Spring streets in Downtown Los Angeles was a scene of celebration on July 1, 1935. The new headquarters for the Los Angeles Times had opened amid the Great Depression, and news of the grand opening was broadcast across the country.

Curious Angelenos streamed through the main entrance, past the giant revolving globe that dominated the formal lobby. Entertainer and tireless LA promoter Will Rogers was master-of-ceremonies, and singer Bing Crosby crooned a few tunes.

Fronting the Los Angeles Civic Center, the new building was a stone’s throw away from the courts, the headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department, and City Hall, all of which, many detractors believed—for good reason—the LA Times virtually controlled.

The LA Times had been in the center of Downtown since its inception. Founded as the Los Angeles Daily Times in 1881 by Nathan Cole Jr. and Thomas Gardiner, its early years were spent in a “hole in the wall” at the corner of Temple and New High Streets. In July 1882, the newspaper hired a new editor, Harrison Gray Otis. By 1886, he had become the sole owner and publisher of the paper.

 Public domain
Harrison Gray Otis, a “blustery, bellicose man who approached life as if it were the Civil War battlefield of Antietam.”

Originally from Ohio, Otis, according to Bill Boyarsky, author of the definitive Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times, was a “blustery, bellicose man who approached life as if it were the Civil War battlefield of Antietam,” in which he had fought.

“He was a holy terror in his newspaper plant; his natural voice was that of a game-warden roaring at seal poachers,” historian Morrow Mayo said.

Otis was matched in this zeal and drive by his wife Eliza, a former schoolteacher and an accomplished writer in the patriotic, Victorian schmaltz vein. “I don’t believe that we need to be creatures of circumstances, but rather creators of them, and thus architects of our own fortune,” she wrote.

The couple believed that they had found their fortune in Los Angeles, although the town when they arrived wasn’t more than a dusty, Wild West outpost of 12,000 people, rife with crime and strife.

But they saw it as a land of unlimited opportunities, where hard-working Anglo-Americans like themselves could build a Utopian capitalistic society.

“It is the fattest land I ever was in by many degrees,” Otis wrote. “Climate and real estate make a most intoxicating mixture here in Los Angeles. Just enough has been done with the varied and rich resources to show the mighty possibilities of the region. There is nothing like it.”

Under Otis, the LA Times promoted a Republican, open-shop Los Angeles, driven by commerce and development. As the town boomed throughout the 1880s, the paper, with its brash editorials by Otis and pro LA poems and stories by Eliza, gained more and more power and readership.

Nothing signaled the Times’ importance more than when it moved out of its modest office in 1887. The move was to its new headquarters (the first of three the newspaper would build), which opened July 1, 1887, at First and Broadway.

Nicknamed “the fortress,” the six-story castle-like building was the first granite building in Los Angeles. The front counter was “fashioned from wood from Union and Confederate ships, from California missions and Lincoln’s deathbed,” while the different departments were connected by modern “speaking tubes.”

Eliza Otis waxed poetic upon its opening: “Take the granite which the age wrought for us, to build our Times Citadel, where we may fight for truth, do mighty battle ’gainst the wrong.”

 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
“The Fortress,” the first headquarters the LA Times built, photographed in 1901.

Besides Otis himself, the most important Times employee to decamp to the new building was Harry Chandler, who had been hired as a circulation department clerk in 1885.

A “pirate visionary,” the shrewd Chandler had been promoted to the head of the department within the year. He soon caught Otis’s attention for his ruthless, innovative ways. Decades later, Chandler recalled an early stunt to punish the Times’ competitors at the Los Angeles Herald:

Through a friend, I secretly bought the circulation routes of the Herald…then I hired a big tallyho and one day shipped off the entire Herald Circulation and carrier crew to the San Bernardino Mountains for a five-day holiday. When the time came to distribute the Herald…there weren’t any boys to do it.

Chandler soon became the son Otis (the father of three daughters) never had, and his right-hand man. In 1894, Chandler became Otis’s actual son-in-law, when he married Marian, the only daughter of Eliza and Harrison to work at the LA Times.

Under the leadership of these two men, the LA Times would have its hand in almost every pro-growth endeavor in Los Angeles. It was Otis who spurred the creation of the new LA Chamber of Commerce in 1888, which lured thousands of Midwesterners and Easterners to Los Angeles.

Picking a public fight with Henry Huntington’s Southern Pacific Railroad, they helped bring the port of Los Angeles to San Pedro instead of Santa Monica.

 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
A section of the Los Angeles aqueduct in the San Fernando Valley completed in 1913.

The LA Times was also heavily involved in the propaganda effort to build the Los Angeles Aqueduct. In 1903, using insider information, Otis, Chandler, and a group of LA businessmen bought 160,000 acres of the San Fernando Valley, aware that the aqueduct would make these parched regions into arable, fertile land.

The paper also continued to voraciously fight labor unions at every turn, believing that unions were an impediment to competitive growth.

“There is one city in the United States where a strike has never been able to succeed,” Chandler said proudly. “That city is Los Angeles. The reason is because it has the Times.”

There was also a racist element in their opposition since many unions were made up of leaders and members that did not fit Otis’s “Anglo-Saxon” ideal.

Otis, his paper—and “the fortress” itself—became a national symbol of oppression to pro-union leaders. Progressive California Governor Hiram Johnson echoed the sentiments of many when he described Otis as a man “with gangrened heart and rotting brain, grimacing at every reform, chattering impotently at all things.”

 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
“The Fortress” was bombed in 1910, killing 21 employees.

This rage came to a head in the early morning hours of October 1, 1910. An explosion tore through “The Fortress,” killing 21 employees (including Chandler’s secretary Wesley Reeves) and injuring dozens more.

Brothers J.B. and J.J. McNamara, members of International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers, who had orchestrated more than 100 cross-country bombings in twisted pursuit of anti-union activists, were eventually convicted of the crime.

“I wanted the whole building to go to hell,” J.B. McNamara later said. “I am sorry so many people were killed. I hoped to get General Otis.”

This terrorism strengthened the Times’ anti-union stance, which would persist until the 1960s. On October 1, 1912, the two-year anniversary of the bombing, the ever-resilient LA Times reopened at its new headquarters on First and Broadway, the second of three headquarter it would build Downtown. The new building, the LA Times boasted, was built with the “permanent stability of a Gibraltar” and “wider, deeper, higher in the air, [and] extended farther in the earth”

Harrison Gray Otis died in 1917, and Harry Chandler officially took the reins of the Times- and the direction of Los Angeles.

Chandler had his hands in every LA honeypot, owning stakes in oil wells, promoting and investing in the burgeoning SoCal aviation industry, investing in steamships, Goodyear Oil and Tire, and subdivisions—including the fabled Hollywoodland in Beachwood Canyon—in the city and the Valley.

At every turn, the LA Times was there to promote the boss’s latest business venture.

“Before a single board was nailed,” historian Kevin Roderick said, “the Times, doing its part to sell the boss’s land, proclaimed nonexistent new communities” to be “the wonder towns” of the San Fernando Valley.

“I think of Harry Chandler not as a publisher but as a land developer, a dreamer, a builder,” his daughter-in-law Dorothy Chandler would later say. “His mind wasn’t on the newspaper, I hate to tell you.”

Chandler was well-aware of the power of his position at the LA Times, and his ability to shape the city around him.

“There isn’t a public office in the world I would want to accept as a result of my many years of work at the Times office,” he said. “I’m able to render a service to the public that is far beyond anything I could in any elected position.”

 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
View of the magnificent LA Times building, designed by architect Gordon Kaufmann, in 1935.

So it was, that at the height of the depression in Los Angeles, with building slowed and hope being lost, the increasingly powerful LA Times decided to make a statement about it belief in the city they had helped mold.

Chandler hired architect Gordon Kaufmann to build a magnificent new headquarters, allegedly giving the architect one directive: “Let it be a suitable newspaper plant and a monument to our city.” Chandler claimed to have paid cash for the new plant.

Designed in what was called the “monumental modern” style, the imposing new six-story building was topped with a graceful clock tower that could be seen throughout the civic center.

“Faced with Indiana limestone, California granite, bronze and aluminum, it apparently has been designed to endure as long as Los Angeles itself,” one Times writer editorialized.

The building was designed so that the temperature was always maintained at “75 degrees… conditions needed for the perfect production of newspaper.” Carved in the impressive stone frontings of the building were slogans and quotes, including that of lionized former publisher Harrison Gray Otis: “Stand fast, stand firm, stand true.”

Chandler wrote an editorial himself about the new building and his family’s paper:

The Times has always been so much a part of Los Angeles that the history of one is a history of the other… the old Times eagle will have new feathers and a new roost; but its eye will remain vigilant for injustice, tyranny, and the opportunity to defend those whose arms are too weak to defend themselves.

This new construction project on First and Spring Streets brought the praise of many in Southern California desperate for some good news. Always its best booster, the LA Times reported on the building’s grand opening on July 1, 1935, in bombastic tones that echoed its publisher and his admirers.

After Chandler’s retirement, his handsome, laid-back son, Norman, became publisher. Under him, the Times continued to exert a powerful influence on Los Angeles and Southern California, helping a young politician named Richard Nixon get elected, and influencing leaders across the street.

“The Times dominated Los Angeles City Hall,” Boyarsky writes of the Norman Chandler era, “helped by an influential reporter who signaled thumbs up and thumbs down when telling council members how to vote on measures that interested the paper.”

In 1960, Norman’s forward-thinking, hard-charging son, Otis, became publisher. Under Otis, the paper became a Pulitzer-caliber paper, covering all sides of the issues and holding increasingly progressive views.

“Just as Harrison Gray Otis used his newspaper to promote the rise of Los Angeles from a remote western town to an important American metropolis,” historian Kevin Starr wrote, “Otis Chandler, during his watch on the Times, helped Los Angeles move towards international prominence, helped it become a world-class city.”

By the 1980s, when Tom Johnson became publisher, the Times headquarters had grown, eventually featuring five interconnected buildings which took up an entire city block known as Times-Mirror Square.

Times-Mirror Square, photographed in 2006.

In 2000, the Chandler family sold the paper and its storied building to the Tribune Media Company. But the power of the LA Times was shrinking dramatically, with the internet and new media steadily decreasing circulation numbers.

As the Times’ once mighty workforce declined, its owners began to rent out portions of the complex to other businesses and film shoots. In 2016, it sold Times-Mirror Square to the Onni Group for $100 million, though the LA Times stayed on as a renter.

Today, the last days of the LA Times in Downtown are at hand. In April, the Times’ new owner, billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, announced that the paper was leaving First and Spring, exiled to a complex at 2300 East Imperial Highway in El Segundo, 19 miles away. He promised the new building would have “lots of light, a daycare center [and] a museum to honor the newspaper’s history and modern technology.”

LA Times employees have been moving out of the building department by department.

The Onni Group plans to turn portions of Times Mirror Square into a mixed-used residential and commercial complex. One can only imagine how Otis and Chandler, as pro-growth and pro-development as they were, would feel about that.


Light-filled Koreatown condo with two bedrooms asks $699K

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The condo has hardwood floors and plenty of natural light.

Located in a classic 1920s complex

This airy two-bedroom condo is situated in Koreatown’s elegant Miramonte Terrace.

Now seems to be the time to buy in the building—we spotted another unit in this week’s Curbed Comparisons.

Built in 1922, the Italianate complex is positioned around a central courtyard with vintage light posts and neatly trimmed hedges that frame a stone fountain. This particular unit is outfitted with hardwood floors, French doors, coved ceilings, and access to a private balcony.

The condo has 1,491 square feet of living space, with two bathrooms, a formal dining room, a well-equipped kitchen and pantry, and a walk-in closet in the master bedroom. Building amenities include a barbecue area and a common room with a vintage pool table. The unit also comes with a one-car garage and a second outdoor spot.

Asking price is $699,000, with HOA dues of $363 per month.

Dining room
Front of building
Courtyard fountain

Here are the details for epic Disney Hall-to-Hollywood Bowl CicLAvia

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An aerial view of the Hollywood Bowl, which is hosting a free concert September 30.

It’s a huge party, and everyone is invited

Save the date: The Los Angeles Philharmonic is throwing a huge open-streets festival on September 30—and the entire city is invited.

The supersized block party will feature concerts, art installations, and food trucks at six “hubs” along an 8-mile route that will stretch from the Walt Disney Concert Hall to the Hollywood Bowl.

The route—which will pass through Downtown, MacArthur Park, Koreatown, and Hollywood—will be closed to cars and dedicated to people on foot, bikes, scooters, skates, and wheelchairs. (All forms of non-motorized transportation are welcome.)

The entertainment line-up is extensive, with some 1,800 performers slated to croon and dance. Among them are a slew of Los Angeles musicians, including Dustbowl Revival, DāM-FunK, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Las Cafeteras, Phoebe Bridgers, and Wayne White.

Co-hosted by CicLAvia, the event is a celebration of the philharmonic’s 100th anniversary and will culminate in a free concert at the bowl. Ticketing information for that show will be announced August 30.

Details, including street closures, for the festival are below. The complete performance schedule, hub by hub, will be announced September 17.


9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, September 30

Route (and hub locations)

The route runs between the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, via Wilshire Boulevard, Western Avenue, Melrose Avenue, and Vine Street. There’s no start or end point, so join in anywhere.

Highland Avenue will remain open to traffic, so if you want to walk directly up the hill to the bowl via the open street route, you’ll have to share the road with cars on Franklin and Highland. You can also take a free shuttle from Hollywood and Yucca to the bowl.

Street closures

  • Grand Avenue between First Street and Wilshire Boulevard
  • Wilshire Boulevard between Grand Avenue and Western Avenue
  • Western Avenue between Wilshire Boulevard and Melrose Avenue
  • Melrose Avenue between Western Boulevard and Vine Street
  • Vine Street between Melrose Avenue and Yucca Street.

Activists pushing forward with plan to convert Parker Center into homeless housing

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Parker Center was built in 1955 and served as LA’s longtime police headquarters.

The city plans to begin demolishing the building later this year

With demolition of Downtown Los Angeles’s storied Parker Center building expected to begin later this year, activists are racing to preserve the structure, which the city plans to replace with an office tower.

On Monday, City Clerk Holly Wolcott announced that proponents of a ballot initiative calling for the building to be preserved and rehabilitated as homeless housing could begin gathering petition signatures to qualify it for a future election.

Which election that would be is hard to say. The deadline’s already passed to qualify measures for LA’s next polling day in November. No elections are scheduled in the city in 2019, so—even if signature gathering is successful—voters may not be able to weigh in on the initiative until 2020.

By then, Parker Center could be rubble.

But Jill Stewart, director of the Coalition to Preserve LA, which is leading the initiative, says that’s not “much of a problem.”

She points out that the measure could be brought before voters sooner in the event of a special election, and that demolition of the Parker Center isn’t expected to be complete until the end of 2019. She also expects that “red tape” could slow the tear down further.

Built in 1955, Parker Center served as the longtime headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department, but has been empty since 2013.

As the city formalized plans for a Civic Center overhaul that would require the building’s demolition, preservationists argued that the building’s innovative design by architect Welton Becket made it worthy of landmark status.

Despite a hearty recommendation from the Cultural Heritage Commission, City Councilmembers ultimately rejected the landmark effort, saying the building’s close ties with multiple LAPD scandals and discriminatory policing practices made it unworthy of preservation. Numerous Little Tokyo residents and business owners also advocated for the teardown, as the building sits on land seized from the community through eminent domain.

Supporters of the ballot measure say turning the building into supportive housing for homeless residents—and renaming it after former mayor Tom Bradley—would allow the structure to be preserved while distancing it from its messy past.

The coalition even brought in architecture firm Glavovic Studio to consult on the project. Studio president Margi Nothard told Curbed in May that the building could support nearly 500 residential units, though many would be less than 300 square feet in size.

The City Council earlier this month approved a financing plan for the demolition of Parker Center, seemingly sealing the structure’s fate. But backers of the initiative aren’t giving up just yet.

Once petitioning begins, they’ll have 120 days to gather nearly 65,000 signatures.

Billionaire Paul Allen selling 120 acres in Beverly Crest for $150M

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An aerial view of the sprawling hillside parcel.

The land once held a storied Old Hollywood mansion

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is selling one of the nation’s most valuable parcels of land in mansion-filled Beverly Crest.

The 120-acre property sits on top of a ridge in the 90210 zip code and is being advertised with a $150 million price tag. It’s not even the most expensive listing on the Los Angeles market. There’s a $250 million price tag attached to a similarly sprawling hillside parcel nearby, though that property comes with plans for an enormous 75,000 mansion.

Per the Los Angeles Times, Allen purchased the huge tract of land in 1997, when it still contained a Wallace Neff-designed mansion built for silent film star Fred Thomson and writer Francis Marion. Allen later tore down the house and installed a private street, but never developed the property further.

The land does appear to have been neatly staged for listing photos though; the ridge line is topped by large, level lawns of bright green grass and looks like a very challenging golf course.

The property is one of several listed in LA with nine-digit asking prices. It’s not inconceivable that they’ll sell for that much. Earlier this year, a beachfront mansion in Malibu became the first house in LA County to sell for over $100 million.

Allen’s land is somewhat unique because the lot is large enough that a buyer could easily develop several lavish mansions on the property—or hold on to all that acreage as a kind of private resort.


What $1,400 rents in Los Angeles

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From Los Feliz to La Brea

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, where we explore what you can rent or buy for a certain dollar amount in various LA ’hoods. We’ve found five rentals within $100 of today’s price, $1,400. Vote for your favorite below.

 Via Zillow

We’re kicking off this week’s Curbed Comparisons with a studio in a snappy Art Deco building in Koreatown. The pad comes in at 500 square feet and features fun molding, a brick wall, and hardwood floors. Per the listing, it has been freshly updated with stainless steel appliances, and butcher block counters. One possible down-side: It doesn’t come with dedicated parking. But maybe you won’t need it. Neighborhoods don’t get more walkable or transit-friendly than Koreatown. The rent? $1,375.

 Via Zillow

Here’s a crisp one-bedroom in Burbank with ample closet space, beamed ceilings, and polished hardwood floors. The apartment is located in a single-story building that holds just six units. One covered parking space is included in the $1,500 rent.

 Via Zillow

This 475-square-foot studio will put you close to bars, restaurants, and the Hyperion Trader Joe’s in Los Feliz. It sports vintage black and white tile in the kitchen and bathroom and hardwood floors. It comes with one parking space, and it allows pets (with a deposit, of course). The rent is $1,495.

If you want a place that’s more centrally located, here’s one (very tiny) option in a charming 1920s building. Located off La Brea and West Third Street, the studio is walking distance to El Coyote, LACMA, and the Grove. It comes in at just 306 square feet—that’s enough room for some closets, a kitchenette, and a compact bathroom. It’s renting for $1,300.

South of Echo Park, in north Westlake—a neighborhood with excellent views of the Downtown skyline and one of the best under-the-radar parks, Vista Hermosa—you’ll find this clean and bright studio. Fresh off the heels of a remodel, the 500-square-foot unit is renting for $1,350.


Here’s what $685K buys around LA

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From Koreatown to El Segundo

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, where we explore what you can rent or buy for a certain dollar amount in various LA ’hoods. We’ve found five homes within $10,000 of today’s price: $685,000.

Front courtyard
Dining room
BalconyJeffrey Park, Min Chung | New Star Realty

Here’s a two-bedroom unit in the lovely old Miramonte Terrace building in southern Koreatown. Built in 1922, the U-shaped building is framed around a quiet courtyard with a fountain. This particular unit offers a roomy 1,491 square feet of living space with a private balcony. It comes with a one-car garage space and an additional outdoor spot. Asking price is $690,000, with HOA dues of $363 per month.

front of house
living room
Dining room
BackyardVia Laurie Sharrigan, Berkshire Hathaway

This Woodland Hills home was built in 1962 and has been recently updated with new flooring and a remodeled kitchen. It’s got three bedrooms and two bathrooms spread across 1,182 square feet of floor space. The house sits on a 7,812-square foot lot with an attached garage, a back patio, and a hilly yard. Asking price is $689,500.

Building from street
Living and dining area
Pool deckVia Jonathan Minerick |

If it’s amenities you’re after, try this condo in South Park’s Evo complex. The 1,120-square-foot unit has one bedroom and a single bathroom, with wide panels of windows and an open living and dining space. The building boasts a swimming pool, spa, barbecue area, fitness center, and rooftop lounge. Asking price is $688,000, with HOA dues of $749 per month.

Front of house
Living room
dining room

This homey Spanish bungalow in Pasadena was built in 1925 and still contains hardwood floors and an elegant tile fireplace (though it sadly no longer works). The 900-square-foot house has two bedrooms and one bathroom, along with an airy living room and a formal dining room. Sitting on a 4,682-square-foot lot, the home has a grassy front lawn and a patio space in the back. Asking price is $675,000.

Living room
BalconyVia Bill Ruane | Re/Max

Finally, here’s a two-bedroom condo right off Main Street in El Segundo. The 1970s unit has been recently remodeled and has two updated bathrooms along with a kitchen outfitted with freshly installed appliances and countertops. The master bedroom leads out to a large private balcony with room for outdoor seating. The unit comes with a pair of parking spaces and extra storage space. Asking price is $679,900, with HOA dues of $335 per month.